Lesson Plan Overview

Oil Crisis:
Get Into The Game

How Bad Can It Get?

Life Is Starting To Change

Elasticity and Collapse

Oil Dependency
Among Nations

Food Without Oil


Preparation and Community

Lessons Learned

Your World Without Oil


How Bad Can It Get?

It's now been a few weeks since the announcement that the world was running short of oil. Fuel prices continue to rise in anticipation of when actual supplies start to run short. It's becoming clear that there is no quick fix to the shortage, but many citizens are starting to hoard fuel anyway. Tensions are starting to rise.

In this and succeeding lessons, you present developments in the oil crisis as though they were really happening, and ask the students to deal realistically with these developments in their own lives. As they try to anticipate what will happen next in the crisis, they will naturally explore the relationships between lifestyle and resources. As their inquiry brings up topics and issues, you can use the resources we provide to enhance students' understanding. 

Lesson Objectives
Students will:

Before the Lesson

Part 1: Set the Stage
Student Page for this lesson is here:
This page summarizes ideas and instructions for students.

Part 2: Take Action

Part 3: Lesson Activity
  1. Have the students re-form into the small groups established in Lesson One. Assign each group one of the following WWO citizen reports to read. Then have each group discuss the following: do the students feel that events such as these (Kalwithoutoil, Anda, and the third) could occur in their community? Why or why not? How much do they feel the oil crisis is impacting their neighborhood, community and city, and why? Have each group deliver a short report about the citizen report and their own reactions to it.
  2. What about government action? Ask students about the 1973 and 1979 oil crises in the U.S., and share with them as necessary the immediate actions (gas rationing, national speed limit) and the longer term outcomes (more fuel efficient cars, etc.) that the United States government implemented. Would those actions work today? Would they help prevent the events described in the WWO citizen reports?
  3. If time permits, have students read the following citizen analysis, and react to it.

Part 4: Reflect
Now that the students know that the situation is serious and that people are already showing the ugly side of human nature, they should start thinking about the events that might erupt around them.  Use the following questions to help guide their reflection:

Part 5: Take It Further
Distribute this to your students:

Some of life's best lessons are learned by listening to the words of those who have experienced events that have shaped our world.  To take it further today, find a parent, grandparent, or family friend that remembers the 1973 and/or 1979 oil crises.  What exactly do they remember?  How did they have to change their lives? Are they surprised that the United States continues to be so dependent on oil?  Do they think the lessons of the 1970s have been lost, and if so, why?  Share the responses through your blog, a video interview, or a podcast.

Additional Resources

Lessons Overview
Independent Lens Electric Shadows Independent Television Service Corporation for Public Broadcasting Ken Eklund, Writerguy
Home :: World Without Oil Learn About :: World Without Oil Buzz :: World Without Oil WWO Lives! Post-Game Blog Welcome Video :: World Without Oil Contact, Credits :: World Without Oil

National Standards (McREL)

Overarching (All Lessons)

Standard 44.
Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world

Level IV (Grades 9-12), Benchmark 2:
Understands rates of economic development and the emergence of different economic systems around the globe (e.g., systems of economic management in communist and capitalist countries, as well as the global impact of multinational corporations; the impact of black markets, speculation, and trade in illegal products on national and global markets; patterns of inward, outward, and internal migration in the Middle East and North Africa, types of jobs involved, and the impact of the patterns upon national economies; the rapid economic development of East Asian countries in the late 20th century, and the relatively slow development of Sub-Saharan African countries)


Lesson 1: Specific Standards

United States History

Standard 30: Understands developments in foreign policy and domestic politics between the Nixon and Clinton presidencies

Level IV, Benchmark 1: Understands how the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations dealt with major domestic issues

World History

Standard 44: Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world

Level IV, Benchmark 4: Understands the oil crisis and its aftermath in the 1970s (e.g., how the oil crisis revealed the extent and complexity of global economic interdependence; events that have affected world oil prices since 1950; relationships between U.S. domestic energy policy and foreign policy in oil producing regions since 1970)


State Standards (All Lessons)